The Most Iconic Job in Every State

March 19, 2018 by Sam Stebbins

Source: stockvisual / Getty Images
With about $18.6 trillion in annual output, no economy is as large or as diverse as that of the United States. On a global scale, the United States dominates in certain industries, including automobile manufacturing, arms manufacturing, medicine, and higher educational institutions. Just as the United States specializes in certain fields internationally, each state’s labor market has a unique contribution to the national economy.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the location quotient of all occupations in each state, to identify the most iconic job in each state. The location quotient measures the relative concentration of jobs by comparing how common an occupation is in a state compared to how common it is nationwide. For example, crop farm workers comprise 0.02% of the nationwide workforce. In California, crop farm workers comprise 1.1% of the workforce. No other job in California is more concentrated compared to its concentration in the nationwide labor market.

Click here to see the most iconic job in every state.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

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1. Alabama
> Most iconic job: Tire builders
> Employed in job statewide: 2,250
> Median salary: $55,760
> Share of all U.S. tire builders in Alabama: 10.1%

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Source: starman963 / Getty Images

2. Alaska
> Most iconic job: Mining machine operators
> Employed in job statewide: 420
> Median salary: $48,770
> Share of all U.S. mining machine operators in Alaska: 19.4%

Source: pigphoto / Getty Images

3. Arizona
> Most iconic job: Electronic home entertainment equipment installers
> Employed in job statewide: 2,020
> Median salary: $44,100
> Share of all U.S. electronic equipment installers in Arizona: 7.9%

Source: Pixygirlly / Getty Images

4. Arkansas
> Most iconic job: Cooling and freezing equipment operators
> Employed in job statewide: 670
> Median salary: $26,990
> Share of all U.S. cooling equipment installers in Arkansas: 8.2%

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Source: Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia / Wikimedia Commons

5. California
> Most iconic job: Farmworkers and laborers, crop
> Employed in job statewide: 182,570
> Median salary: $21,960
> Share of all U.S. crop farm workers in California: 66.8%

Source: urbancow / Getty Images

6. Colorado
> Most iconic job: Atmospheric and space scientists
> Employed in job statewide: 1,580
> Median salary: $96,420
> Share of all U.S. atmospheric and space scientists in Colorado: 16.1%

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Source: Thinkstock

7. Connecticut
> Most iconic job: Actuaries
> Employed in job statewide: 850
> Median salary: $101,580
> Share of all U.S. actuaries in Connecticut: 4.3%

Source: pilipphoto / Getty Images

8. Delaware
> Most iconic job: Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers
> Employed in job statewide: 4,270
> Median salary: $24,720
> Share of all U.S. meat cutters in Delaware: 2.9%

Source: KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images

9. Florida
> Most iconic job: Special education teachers, all other
> Employed in job statewide: 14,630
> Median salary: $48,560
> Share of all U.S. special education teachers in Florida: 36.4%

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Source: michaeljung / Getty Images

10. Georgia
> Most iconic job: Textile machine operators
> Employed in job statewide: 10,690
> Median salary: $28,780
> Share of all U.S. textile machine operators in Georgia: 35.2%

Source: FatCamera / Getty Images

11. Hawaii
> Most iconic job: Dancers
> Employed in job statewide: 640
> Median salary: N/A
> Share of all U.S. dancers in Hawaii: 6.4%

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Source: Thinkstock

12. Idaho
> Most iconic job: Forest and conservation technicians
> Employed in job statewide: 2,330
> Median salary: $32,320
> Share of all U.S. forest and conservation technicians in Idaho: 7.7%

Source: SlandsviSolveig O. Landsvik / Wikimedia Commons

13. Illinois
> Most iconic job: Production workers, all other
> Employed in job statewide: 54,000
> Median salary: $29,500
> Share of all U.S. production workers in Illinois: 21.5%

Source: sykono / Getty Images

14. Indiana
> Most iconic job: Metal and plastic rolling machine operators
> Employed in job statewide: 4,290
> Median salary: $54,260
> Share of all U.S. rolling machine operators in Indiana: 14.8%

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Source: Jevtic / Getty Images

15. Iowa
> Most iconic job: Soil and plant scientists
> Employed in job statewide: 1,640
> Median salary: $69,510
> Share of all U.S. soil and plant scientists in Iowa: 11.2%

Source: Gogiya / Getty Images

16. Kansas
> Most iconic job: Metal and plastic layout workers
> Employed in job statewide: 770
> Median salary: $62,680
> Share of all U.S. layout workers in Kansas: 8.5%

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Source: Tramino / Getty Images

17. Kentucky
> Most iconic job: Assemblers and fabricators
> Employed in job statewide: 17,090
> Median salary: $24,820
> Share of all U.S. assemblers and fabricators in Kentucky: 7.4%

Source: Thinkstock

18. Louisiana
> Most iconic job: Captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels
> Employed in job statewide: 7,700
> Median salary: $84,520
> Share of all U.S. water vessel captains in Louisiana: 21.0%

Source: borchee / Getty Images

19. Maine
> Most iconic job: Marine engineers and naval architects
> Employed in job statewide: 350
> Median salary: $90,760
> Share of all U.S. marine engineers in Maine: 4.3%

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Source: sturti / Getty Images

20. Maryland
> Most iconic job: Health diagnosing and treating practitioners
> Employed in job statewide: 5,140
> Median salary: $130,690
> Share of all U.S. health treating practitioners in Maryland: 14.2%

Source: UC Davis College of Engineering / Wikimedia Commons

21. Massachusetts
> Most iconic job: Biomedical engineers
> Employed in job statewide: 2,880
> Median salary: $89,250
> Share of all U.S. biomedical engineers in Massachusetts: 14.0%

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Source: vm / Getty Images

22. Michigan
> Most iconic job: Commercial and industrial designers
> Employed in job statewide: 6,600
> Median salary: $80,740
> Share of all U.S. commercial and industrial designers in Michigan: 20.7%

Source: Thinkstock

23. Minnesota
> Most iconic job: Print binding and finishing workers
> Employed in job statewide: 3,700
> Median salary: $36,610
> Share of all U.S. print binding workers in Minnesota: 7.0%

Source: AleksandarGeorgiev / Getty Images

24. Mississippi
> Most iconic job: Upholsterers
> Employed in job statewide: 3,520
> Median salary: $34,130
> Share of all U.S. upholsterers in Mississippi: 10.8%

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Source: benedek / Getty Images

25. Missouri
> Most iconic job: Locker room, coatroom, and dressing room attendants
> Employed in job statewide: 1,780
> Median salary: $18,850
> Share of all U.S. locker room attendants in Missouri: 9.9%

Source: EvgeniyShkolenko / Getty Images

26. Montana
> Most iconic job: Forest and conservation technicians
> Employed in job statewide: 2,080
> Median salary: $32,310
> Share of all U.S. forest and conservation technicians in Montana: 6.9%

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Source: margouillatphotos / Getty Images

27. Nebraska
> Most iconic job: Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers
> Employed in job statewide: 9,860
> Median salary: $30,050
> Share of all U.S. meat cutters in Nebraska: 6.6%

Source: welcomia / Shutterstock.com

28. Nevada
> Most iconic job: Gaming service workers
> Employed in job statewide: 3,690
> Median salary: $27,780
> Share of all U.S. gaming services workers in Nevada: 30.4%

Source: Thinkstock

29. New Hampshire
> Most iconic job: Metal workers and plastic workers, all other
> Employed in job statewide: 720
> Median salary: $29,450
> Share of all U.S. metal and plastic workers in New Hampshire: 3.1%

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Source: Ivanko_Brnjakovic / Getty Images

30. New Jersey
> Most iconic job: Shampooers
> Employed in job statewide: 2,380
> Median salary: $19,440
> Share of all U.S. shampooers in New Jersey: 15.6%

Source: Thinkstock

31. New Mexico
> Most iconic job: Physicists
> Employed in job statewide: 1,640
> Median salary: $143,330
> Share of all U.S. physicists in New Mexico: 9.8%

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Source: Thinkstock

32. New York
> Most iconic job: Fashion designers
> Employed in job statewide: 7,590
> Median salary: $71,220
> Share of all U.S. Fashion designers in New York: 39.5%

Source: Thinkstock

33. North Carolina
> Most iconic job: Textile machine operators
> Employed in job statewide: 7,930
> Median salary: $24,670
> Share of all U.S. textile machine operators in North Carolina: 26.1%

Source: Thinkstock

34. North Dakota
> Most iconic job: Extraction workers
> Employed in job statewide: 630
> Median salary: $55,370
> Share of all U.S. extraction workers in North Dakota: 14.6%

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Source: da-kuk / Getty Images

35. Ohio
> Most iconic job: Engine and other machine assemblers
> Employed in job statewide: 6,640
> Median salary: $49,100
> Share of all U.S. engine assemblers in Ohio: 17.4%

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

36. Oklahoma
> Most iconic job: Oil and gas rotary drill operators
> Employed in job statewide: 1,980
> Median salary: $52,610
> Share of all U.S. oil and gas drill operators in Oklahoma: 11.4%

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37. Oregon
> Most iconic job: Logging workers
> Employed in job statewide: 1,440
> Median salary: $38,720
> Share of all U.S. logging workers in Oregon: 47.8%

Source: Thinkstock

38. Pennsylvania
> Most iconic job: Word processors and typists
> Employed in job statewide: 6,790
> Median salary: $35,310
> Share of all U.S. typists in Pennsylvania: 10.1%

Source: Thinkstock

39. Rhode Island
> Most iconic job: Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers
> Employed in job statewide: 650
> Median salary: N/A
> Share of all U.S. jewelers in Rhode Island: 2.5%

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Source: 4x6 / Getty Images

40. South Carolina
> Most iconic job: Tire builders
> Employed in job statewide: 3,750
> Median salary: $40,510
> Share of all U.S. tire builders in South Carolina: 16.8%

Source: Henfaes / Getty Images

41. South Dakota
> Most iconic job: Forest and conservation workers
> Employed in job statewide: 610
> Median salary: $23,820
> Share of all U.S. forest and conservation workers in South Dakota: 8.5%

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Source: Thinkstock

42. Tennessee
> Most iconic job: Medical appliance technicians
> Employed in job statewide: 1,750
> Median salary: $32,090
> Share of all U.S. medical appliance technicians in Tennessee: 12.0%

Source: Thinkstock

43. Texas
> Most iconic job: Petroleum engineers
> Employed in job statewide: 17,780
> Median salary: $139,800
> Share of all U.S. Petroleum engineers in Texas: 54.2%

Source: Highwaystarz-Photography / Getty Images

44. Utah
> Most iconic job: Forest and conservation technicians
> Employed in job statewide: 1,370
> Median salary: $28,880
> Share of all U.S. forest and conservation technicians in Utah: 4.6%

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Source: Thinkstock

45. Vermont
> Most iconic job: Solar photovoltaic installers
> Employed in job statewide: 270
> Median salary: $36,230
> Share of all U.S. solar photovoltaic installers in Vermont: 3.0%

Source: Thinkstock

46. Virginia
> Most iconic job: Legal support workers
> Employed in job statewide: 8,120
> Median salary: $104,760
> Share of all U.S. legal support workers in Virginia: 18.1%

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

47. Washington
> Most iconic job: Zoologists and wildlife biologists
> Employed in job statewide: 1,990
> Median salary: $62,290
> Share of all U.S. zoologists in Washington: 11.2%

Source: tenmay / Getty Images

48. West Virginia
> Most iconic job: Roof bolters, mining
> Employed in job statewide: 1,620
> Median salary: $56,300
> Share of all U.S. mine shaft roof bolters in West Virginia: 41.2%

Source: Thinkstock

49. Wisconsin
> Most iconic job: Foundry mold and coremakers
> Employed in job statewide: 1,880
> Median salary: $36,720
> Share of all U.S. foundry mold coremakers in Wisconsin: 14.7%

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Source: sasacvetkovic33 / Getty Images

50. Wyoming
> Most iconic job: Wellhead pumpers
> Employed in job statewide: 550
> Median salary: $58,670
> Share of all U.S. wellhead pumpers in Wyoming: 4.7%

A range of factors as disparate as the presence of major research universities, a state’s natural resources, and access to coastline shape a state’s economy — and consequently its labor market. The most iconic job in many states will not come as a surprise — for example, petroleum engineers in Texas; gaming workers in Nevada; and extraction workers in North Dakota, to name a few.

While certain jobs, like teachers, police officers, and mail carriers, are ubiquitous nationwide, every state is home to a uniquely large share of people working in a certain profession. For example, more than one-third of all fashion designers employed in the United States work in New York. Similarly, nearly half of all logging workers nationwide are employed in Oregon.

In Alabama, the concentration of people working in tire manufacturing plants is 7.4 times higher than it is nationwide. Manufacturing has long been a pillar of the state’s economy, and a number of tire makers have production facilities in the state, including a BF Goodrich and Michelin. The BF Goodrich plant in Tuscaloosa employs over 1,000 state residents and the Michelin plant in Dothan employs hundreds.

In addition to the presence of major employers, the level of access to natural resources helps explain concentrations of energy extraction jobs in several states. In Louisiana, for example, a state with a considerable coast line along the Gulf of Mexico and a border along the Mississippi river, boat captains are the most iconic job. The concentration of boat captains in the Louisiana workforce is 15 times greater the comparable concentration nationwide.

To identify the most iconic job in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the occupation with the highest location quotient in every state using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics survey. Only occupations that comprised at least one of every 2,000 jobs statewide were considered. State and national employment figures and median salaries for each occupation also come from the BLS. All data are for 2016, the most recent period available.